NWF is solving conflicts for Yellowstone Grizzlies
We believe livestock grazing retirements can be a powerful tool for restructuring where grazing occurs on public lands. Most significantly, we have been able to accomplish noteworthy changes in the Yellowstone ecosystem with minimal controversy. We believe that’s because we recognize that grazing leases have economic value and pay accordingly. We think our project provides an important model that could be duplicated for other species. To date we have done grazing retirements to resolve conflicts involving grizzly bears, wolves, bison and bighorn sheep.
This past year set a new high-water mark for NWF retirements. We successfully retired five grazing allotments, providing significant conflict-free habitat for bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, wolves and sage grouse. These retirements will permanently end conflicts between domestic sheep and bighorn sheep (disease transmission occurs that often decimates entire populations) over a significant area of southeastern Idaho.
We believe grazing retirements could significantly boost conservation efforts for sage grouse and anadromous fish. NWF is actively involved with negotiations involving two grazing allotments in central Idaho where livestock have trampled the redds of endangered chinook salmon. Several of our recent bighorn sheep retirements are equally important for sage grouse.
The outlook for maintaining this success is positive. The bighorn sheep risk analysis that the Forest Service is undertaking continues to move slowly forward, and NWF’s Adopt-A-Wildlife acre program has proven itself as the primary means of changing existing land use patterns without major controversy. NWF remains in contact with five permittees in Idaho and Wyoming with whom we have a solid outlook for developing grazing retirement agreements in 2016.
Most recently, we followed up our initial Bureau of Land Managment (BLM) retirement with a second one in late spring of 2015: the 59,000-acre Deadman domestic sheep allotment, also in the Upper Snake River area of southern Idaho. The cost was $66,000. We are also pleased that our recent retirements have been secured for an affordable price. The majority of our retirements have cost less than $3 per acre.The ability to provide substantial conservation at a low cost has allowed NWF to have a significant impact solving livestock / wildlife conflicts on large landscapes in the Rocky Mountain West.
Bighorn sheep are between a rock and a hard place
The Upper Gros Ventre Retirement N. of Jackson, WY
Native plants regenerate quickly without livestock